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'Huge asset' Cameron Green gives glimpse of his bowling impact

The allrounder claimed the key wicket of England captain Joe Root

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
11-Dec-2021
Cameron Green roars in celebration after dismissing Joe Root, Australia vs England, The Ashes, 1st Test, 4th day, Brisbane, December 11, 2021

Cameron Green roars in celebration after dismissing Joe Root  •  CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

The first 10 overs of the fourth day at the Gabba were meant to be the prelude that set up a potentially match-defining new-ball burst. Instead the game was decided in those opening exchanges as Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green removed three of England's middle order.
The start of those wickets was Lyon's 400th as Dawid Malan departed to a bat-pad catch, but it was the next, three overs later, that was the most exciting from an Australian point of view. Green, having opened his wicket-taking account in the first innings, made a delivery bounce and leave Joe Root to take the outside edge.
Root said it felt like it was the first mistake he had made in a magnificently controlled innings. For Green, who Pat Cummins revealed after the first day was almost apologetic for his celebrations when removing Ollie Pope for a maiden Test scalp, it was a glimpse into what has him billed as a potentially generational player for Australia.
He remains a long-term project, but his bowling in this match was much closer to what he showed in the early stage of his career when he averaged 20.70 across his first eight first-class matches before being hit by a series of back injuries.
Last season he was still on restricted workloads ahead of his Test debut against India - limited to four-over spells - and though there were no orders on the amount he could bowl once he was in the team it was a sedate start with the ball in 44 wicketless over across the four Tests.
Green was not included in the limited-overs squads for the tours of West Indies and Bangladesh in the middle of the year which meant he had a full pre-season back in Western Australia then he was able to get 89 overs under his belt in five Sheffield Shield matches.
"It's huge for us, not only having an allrounder who bowls a bit but he's a genuine fourth quick," Pat Cummins said. "Last summer was tough, it was literally straight after stress fractures, so not only did we not want to put too many overs into him but little things like preparing for games and getting overs, he just didn't have a lot of bowling behind him.
"Whereas [this year] he's had a real pre-season, bowled a bit more in Shield cricket, so he's back to what he was probably bowling a couple of years ago. He's a huge asset, bowls 140kph, can swing the ball and I just really wanted to get him into the game."
Lyon, who briefly operated in tandem with Green and often spends his time stationed at point when not bowling, compared watching him to Australia's main three quicks.
"It's pretty remarkable to be honest," he said. "Just to be fielding square of the wicket - I'm pretty used to seeing Josh, Pat and Starcy hit the wicket and the pace and bounce that they get - but I was blown away with Greeny's rhythm and his belief that he's come in with [and the way he] whacked the pitch to get something out of it.
"I'm proper excited about his skill set. So his belief will keep growing day by day, training session by training session and Test by Test and he's going to be an unbelievable asset for Australian cricket for a long period of time hopefully."
After the early incisions provided by Green and Lyon the fight had been knocked out of England who had started the day with ambitions of wiping out the deficit and building a lead on a surface that threatened to be tricky batting last if the game had gone to a fifth day.
When England had finished 220 for 2 the previous evening, there were the first questions being asked of Australia's tactics under Cummins, notably the lack of overs for Josh Hazlewood, who was later revealed to have a very minor side niggle, and some of the field placings to Lyon.
However, Cummins said that the team had remained calm despite England's fightback and were confident that one wicket could break the game open.
"It was a good reminder that they'll be tough days out there, a good partnership, playing against the best players in the world they will have good days," he said. "I was really happy with how we stuck at it, thought we put a lot into yesterday and were really calm and ahead of the game. There was no panic. We got our rewards this morning for the hard work yesterday."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo